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October 26, 2011 / annakpf11

Scotty Odyssey—Crater Lake to the Bay Area

The world is a blurred version of itself—
marred, lovely, and flawed.
It is enough.

—Jane Hirshfield

Truck and trailer crawl along the lip of the collapsed volcano.  Milky fog obscures everything except the steep drop on both sides of the two-lane road. “This would be a good place for a guardrail,” Dave mutters as he gears down.  Sleet smacks the windshield. Like Goldilocks’ porridge—first too hot, then too cold—the temperature has swung more than 60 degrees in 24 hours, from 90-plus in the high desert to near freezing at Crater Lake.

The clouds dissipate, revealing a landscape of desolate beauty. A cold, forbidding, other-worldly place. We park our rig, pull on jackets, hats and gloves, grab our cameras, hike up a short trail and peer into the yawning mouth of the caldera. Thousands of feet below, wind skids across the impossibly blue surface of the lake. Plumes of mist rise from the precipice. An uneasy sense of vertigo compels us to step back, away from the edge. This sensation of being off-balance, in danger of falling, stays with us the entire time we explore the crater rim, even when we are far from the brink.

When we’ve had our fill of fearsome splendor, we head down the western slope in search of a more temperate place to camp. On the way, we stop and walk Basil beside a forest stream layered with mossy rocks and ferns. A refreshing jolt of oxygen after the arid desert and the stark caldera. I feel I can breathe again.

We spend the night in a small, almost empty campground next to the Rogue River, in a grassy field shaded by tall poplar trees, yellow leaves scattered across the ground. Autumn, it seems, has well and truly arrived. Our thoughts turn toward home.

Morning dawns frosty, too cold to consider yoga outdoors. With husband and dog looking on, I attempt some asanas in the trailer. And manage a surprising number of poses and invented modifications, even in such a constricted space. “Trailer Yoga” video, coming soon from Amazon.com?

After a full day of driving we land at Lake Siskiyou campground in plenty of time to set up camp in a secluded site on the water with a view of Mount Shasta.

The heat of the day lingers. Dave sets off with his camera, disappearing into the pine, cedar, and maple forest. I swim in the lake. Basil barks at me from shore. We spend two nights here, catching our breath before pushing homeward.

As we buzz past Redding down Interstate 5, we discuss what most pleased and surprised each of us during the trip (see list below), and right in the middle of our conversation, the biggest surprise of all occurs. “What the…?” Dave stares out his side window. “There’s a guy…he’s waving at us…what is he…hey—it’s JOT!”

Pause for a moment to consider: Jot, bass player and vocalist, friend and band mate of Dave’s since college, lives near Los Angeles. The chances of him and Dave catching sight of each other on a highway far from anywhere must be nil to none. Suitably pleased and astounded, we pull off at the next exit, pile out of our respective vehicles—Basil too, tail wagging like a windshield wiper—and exchange exuberant hugs.

Jot is on his way to catch a plane, so we don’t have much time to chat, but as soon as we get back on the road I call his wife, Linda, and we spend a good while marveling at the synchronicity of two old friends crossing paths this way.

Continuing our lucky run of unplanned but perfect symmetry, we spend our last night on the road in the exact same spot where we began: in the Loch Lomond Marina parking lot. Even better, our dear friend Silva is free for dinner, and meets us at Sam’s in Tiburon. The weather is warm enough to sit outside on the deck, with a view of San Francisco skyline and city front. Feels like we’ve come home.

Dave enjoyments:
Taking photos
Playing guitar
New sights, new places
Spiritual uplift from nature
Snugness of cozy evenings in the trailer with wife and dog

Dave surprises:
Less time than expected spent outdoors at campsites
Portland—disappointment
Coos Bay—pleasant surprise

Anna enjoyments:
Walking in nature
Fears of claustrophobia not coming true
Overcoming challenges to practice yoga
Relative ease of procuring and cooking quality, healthy food
Bonding with Dave and Basil

Anna surprises:
The beauty of the Oregon coast
How many yoga poses fit into a 2 by 5 foot space
How little time our adventures left for reading, writing and quiet contemplation around the campfire

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